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Biden urges U.S. to turn 'crisis into opportunity;' India runs out of space to cremate Covid dead

"We're in a great inflection point in history," President Biden said Wednesday making the case for big government spending to keep America "on the move."
Image: Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelos applaud as President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on April 28, 2021.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelos applaud as President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday evening. Melina Mara / AFP - Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

We start today looking at the ambitious agenda President Joe Biden laid out in his first big speech to Congress.

Here's the latest on that and everything else we're watching this Thursday morning.

Biden urges Congress to turn 'crisis' into 'opportunity'

President Joe Biden painted a nation on the mend, recovering from the pandemic but still in need of a big boost from the federal government, in his first address to Congress on Wednesday as he seeks to shift his focus beyond Covid nearly 100 days into his administration.

Biden said he was there to speak to Congress not just about "crisis" but also about "opportunity," pitching $4 trillion of ambitious investments in the economy and social safety net programs that he argued were necessary to compete on the global stage and said would reduce deficits in the long run.

"Now, after just 100 days, I can report to the nation: America is on the move again. Turning peril into possibility. Crisis into opportunity. Setbacks into strength," he said.

Dig into more of our in-depth coverage:

Thursday's top stories

Image: Covid-19 victims being cremated at Seemapuri crematorium in New Delhi, India
Amal KS / Hindustan Times / Getty Images

As India runs out of space to cremate the dead, a volunteer weeps with the bereaved

While the U.S. seems to be finally turning a corner on the pandemic, India is buckling under the weight of a terrifying surge in Covid-19 deaths. Photos and video of mass cremations have come to symbolize the country’s struggle. "People die in front of our eyes every day. These are people who should have been saved," said a volunteer with a group that offers cremations to the poor. By Rhea Mogul | Read more

Death of California man who was pinned facedown by police draws comparisons to that of George Floyd

Mario Gonzalez, 26, died in police custody after Alameda County officers pinned him facedown on the ground for five minutes. His family and their attorney say his death is eerily similar to that of George Floyd. "These Alameda police officers killed Mario literally while the jury was debating Derek Chauvin's murder charges," his family's lawyer said. By Janelle Griffith | Read more

3 men charged with federal hate crimes in killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia

By Tim Fitzsimons | Read more

Three Georgia men previously charged in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery will he was jogging in Georgia last year were indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury and charged with hate crimes and attempted kidnapping. The Department of Justice alleged Wednesday that the men confronted Arbery "because of his race." By Tim Fitzsimons | Read more

OPINION: Joe Rogan says don't do anything stupid. That starts with listening to his Covid advice.

Rogan may play for laughs on his podcast, but none of his Covid jokes are funny, a group of doctors argue. By Dr. Esther Choo, Dr. Megan Ranney, Dr. Anand Swaminathan | Read more

U.S. Postal Service to consolidate 18 facilities, leading to concerns over mail delays

Postal workers and advocates for rural communities fear delivery delays, but the Postal Service said the consolidations will provide for "more efficient and reliable performance." By Mary Pflum | Read more

BETTER: Anxious? Get tips, tools and advice to help you stress less and stay calm

Tips, tools and advice you need to better manage stress so that it doesn't affect your health. Read more

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One life well lived

Michael Collins, a member of the Apollo 11 mission that landed on the moon, died Wednesday. He was 90.

As Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted humanity's first bootprints on the moon, Collins stayed behind to pilot the command module, circling roughly 60 miles above the lunar surface.

Collins himself never stepped foot on the moon, but he took no issue with that and was rightfully proud of his accomplishments that contributed to what remains one of the most famous space missions in history.

"Well, sure I wish I could have walked on the moon but I can say with the utmost honesty, I was thrilled to have the place that I had, to be one third of John F. Kennedy's culminating dream," Collins told Harry Smith on TODAY in 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the daring mission. "So I have absolutely no beef whatsoever."

Read more about this humble hero and watch a video remembering his historic mission.

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